Family and friends of Nathaniel Bear are searching for answers after a memorial was removed without a trace.

Bear passed away in February, and a memorial had been placed by his family along the South Saskatchewan River.

But now, the memorial is missing, something his family said took them by surprise.

“It shocked us,” Nathaniel’s sister-in-law Casey Desjarlais said. “We packed our car the same day an hour after hearing the news and we left from Vancouver and made the 25-hour trip here.”

This weekend, the family gathered to honour Nathaniel’s memory and rebuild his memorial.

His brother Dakota Bear, said Nathaniel was remembered as having a positive impact on others, and why he said the new memorial will continue to be welcome to anyone.

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“We’re here to amplify our voices and make sure that we’re heard and make sure that Nathaniel’s honour and his memorial is here to stay,” Bear said. “(We will) continue to have and build these spaces that are healing for the people in our community.”

A picture of the new memorial the Bear family built after the first one went missing.

Courtesy of Dakota Bear

The Bear family have been left wondering why the site was taken down in the first place.

Dakota said the area was clean and had no signs of vandalism. He and his family have tried to reach out to the mayor’s office but haven’t gotten a clear response.

“We have letters and emails and tags on social media and all of this attention on the city to try and get some answers and all I get is a small response in the comment section saying, ‘it wasn’t us’,” Bear said.

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Global News reached out to the City of Saskatoon for comment, which said it had no involvement in the memorial going missing.

Nathaniel Bear’s family stands beside a new memorial.

Courtesy of Dakota Bear

In a statement to Global News, the Meewasin Valley Authority said no one from the Meewasin team removed the memorial.

“Meewasin was saddened to hear of the removal of Nathaniel Bear’s memorial near the river,” the statement read.

“Our staff have spoken directly with Dakota about this and expressed our condolences. Meewasin has also been in early discussions with many partners about how to create a permanent outdoor cultural and ceremony space.”

Desjarlais said regardless of where the memorial went or what happened to it, a new site will be built and kept as a place to heal.

“Nathaniel’s legacy and his life will live on. It impacted so many people and we won’t allow it to be disrespected or taken down, that this is a place for healing for so many people, and that’s where it’s going to be,” Desjardins said.

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